You know, e2c, I'd take a cliffnotes sermon over the parsing of a single verse over the course of several weeks (I kid you not). 15 to 20 minutes can be plenty of time for a certain kind of homily. Not long enough for a good and challenging expository sermon as is expected at many traditional evangelical churches. I don't think that very many pulpit scholars have the analytical chops to do that week in and week out. Yet there are plenty of folks who expect that.
I'm questioning the practical value of the week-in/week-out endurance test that is the pastors sermon. It has nothing to do with 21st century ADD attention spans. And whether it's a beat-down or something supremely positive matters little to me.
In most Protestant circles you're locked in to listening to some prepared oratory for a minimum of 40 mins every Sunday. If you're of the charismatic persuasion, this could go even longer if you include the pre, mid and post-altar call talks. There are very few men with the theatrical and creative chops to command that kind of time allotment every week. As a normative part of christian fellowship and devotion, it just doesn't seem like the most effective use of limited time.
Perhaps it's a symptom of middle age or my backslidden state, but I'm convinced sermons and concerts crowd out the more substantive realities of Christian assembly; namely fellowship, burden-sharing, charity and public prayer and supplication.
Yes, I agree totally. I'm not convinced that we are at church to be entertained at all. 40 minute sermons can be a form of entertainment as well, particularly of the sort you ascribe to charismatic congregations.
As to the subject of the thread, I lean in Jeffrey's Catholic friend's direction. I've had segregation of the sexes at the gulag. I won't tolerate it at all anymore, particularly in spiritual situations. I know that while some will agree with me here
, I'll be talking to the wall "out there" by saying that what we need is is a little less self identification, a little less of what I want and more of looking to Him. John the Baptist said it best (I'd love to see THIS on the wall behind a pulpit in a church!), "He must increase, I must decrease."
Edited by Rich Kennedy, 15 July 2010 - 08:36 PM.